A while back, in a span of a couple months, I had no less than three Christians argue with me for being logical. In doing theology, which I enjoy immensely, I write with the hope of being clear, in making my propositions, and then supporting my arguments.
I am aware that I am not always right in the positions I take, partly because I am a student who is learning his subject, but I am ever writing with the intent of working through the development of my theology. I want to know the truth, and I want to communicate truth to others as an act of love from a pure heart.
This desire to work through issues is born from the awareness that many Christians, many pastors, and many professors have led me astray. I have never detected any malice from these folk, despite my learning entire systems of theology that needed major corrections over the years.
Every Christian wishes his or her theology to be true and immovable. What is dangerous for so many is a false idea or entirely erroneous system, which they refuse to put under scrutiny after learning. Arguments must be presented and then tested again and again.
Avoiding doctrinal learning, positioning, and argumentation can be spiritual suicide for some people. Knowing there is only God’s truth, and He Himself (the truth) is the God/man, Christ Jesus (Jn 14:6), means we are learning Christ when we are learning sound doctrine. To avoid doctrine is to avoid Christ, who is revealed to us through the preaching of the Word (Bible). Believing and clinging to the wrong Jesus has eternal consequences, too (false teachers produce believers in false variations of Jesus). So we must be ever refining and purifying what we know from our studies. There is no room for being illogical in this exercise.
Some abort Christian doctrine in favor of false mysticism. In this “Jesus told me…” perversion, everyone gets their own personal Jesus, a figment of their imagination. In truth, the mystery of Christ, hidden in ages past, is no longer a mystery, but a revelation granted to Christians, following the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 3:9; Col 1:26). He is the Spirit of truth who guides us into all truth (Jn 16:13).
Gnosticism kicked back against what became biblical doctrine, derived from Spirit-breathed apostolic writings (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21). When the canon of Scripture was closed and agreed upon by all the churches, it was now just a matter of preaching the word of truth and dispelling the endless introduction of heresies (see all of church history).
When a Spirit-filled Christian studies the Bible, she should marvel at the logic of the Spirit-led prophets and apostles. God is not irrational, unreasonable, nor is He trying to trick anyone. Confusion and deceit are the work of Satan, our adversary.
In presenting our individual doctrines, biblical theologies (what the whole Bible says about one doctrine), and systematic theologies (what all the doctrines of the Bible say collectively), we should be scriptural and logical in laying out our positions. We believe in the Holy Bible, being the sole source of revealed truth from God, spanning some 1500 years (from Moses to the Apostle John) and scribed by forty to fifty human authors, each carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Where one’s arguments fail, fall short, or have missing pieces to complete them, we rely on other Christian writers and preachers to help us. Theology is done in community, across history and around the world, through learning, reason, argumentation, and persuasion.
Novel ideas are rarely friends of the church. It was the philosophers at Athens, who were lusting after new ideas (Acts 17). When the church has three views of eschatology (end things), four views of hell, four views on communion, and five views on sanctification, etc., we have work to do. Obviously, only one view of each doctrine can be true. We must pursue truth in all we do and do truth in the process.
I fear too many Christians try to avoid this basic pursuit, which is really just an exercise in reading the Bible, rightly interpreting what one reads, and organizing our lessons for an overall understanding. This is every Christian’s duty. Ignorance is not bliss for the children of God.
If at any point one’s theology is inconsistent, he should listen to those who are further down the pilgrim’s path of learning Christ. I would start with those who have gone before us because their written theologies, as we have them, are more complete and tested than living theologians. History sifts to bring us the best, but the devil is always sowing new ideas, brought in from past heresies. We must be discerning all the time because false doctrine is the golden manna distributed by angels of light. It is filled with worms…tasty, but deadly.
Heresies live, die, and live again, too. The spiritual warfare continues in each generation (Eph 6:10–20). Truth and lies are the ammunition in each side’s weaponry. Speculations must be exposed and rejected (Rom 1:21; 2 Cor 10:5; 2 Tim 2:23).
In conclusion, God’s Word, a logical revelation from our eternal Logos (Jesus Christ), remains our most logical training. His word of truth and the Spirit of truth are vital in the war against illogical nonsense. Fight on.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 27, 2022